The Arizona Thunderbirds enter the All-Star break at 25-18, tied for the lead in the National West division. Here is a mid-season review of the first half of the Thunderbirds season.
The Thunderbirds are scoring almost the exact same amount of points per game as last season and their rebounding is slightly up. They are one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league, ranking 7th in the league. However, they are struggling with turnovers at 15 per game, which is ranked 14in the league and they aren't sharing the ball much, as they only average 21.1 assists per game.
The Thunderbirds aren't offensive juggernauts, but they are efficient with the limited amount of possessions they have per game due to their slow game pace. They need to work on cutting down on the turnovers and improve their field goal percentage to help offset some close losses.
The Thunderbirds are giving up around 4 points more per game than last season. This is due to a slight increase in three point field goal percentage by opponents, which is up from 35% to 37%. On the positive side, they are the number one shot blocking tean and have the 2nd best Points Per Shot Against and third best Defensive Adjusted FG%. Howerver, they are also giving up 13.4 offensive rebounds per game, which is 19th in the league.
The Thunderbirds are a dominant defensive team when they want to be. However, they have let some games get away from them that have become blowouts. They aren't going to win many games offensively. So, the Thunderbirds defense will be key to their success the second half of the season and beyond.
The Thunderbirds got off to a hot start at 15-2, but finished the first half of the season winning only 10 of the last 26 games. Some of those losses can be attributed to the loss of star shooting guard Mark Marble, who dislocated his shoulder dislocated his knee and has missed the last 16 games. Neither replacements, Phillip Glavocich or Daryl Shipes have been able to fill the void.
Overall Grade: B-
Outlook for the Second Half of the Season:
The Thunderbirds have been trying to stay above water since Marble went down, but with Marble set to return and rumors of a trade that could bring in more bench depth, The Thunderbirds should return to winning ways. They've given up the division lead the the Seattle Seadogs so they're main goal the rest of the season will be to attempt to win the divison and obtain the second seed in the NatCon.
First Half MVP: Harry White
First Half Surprise Player: Jeremy Lakes